Awards | Featured | Nursing

Two Vidant leaders were recognized on Friday, March 18 and inducted into the East Carolina University (ECU) College of Nursing Hall of Fame along with seven other recipients.

Dr. Julie Kennedy Oehlert, chief experience officer at Vidant Health, and Dr. Kamilah Williams, administrator for nursing professional practice, development and clinical education at ECU Health Medical Center (VMC), were each honored last week after being nominated by colleagues and accepted into the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame.

Dr. Williams is a 2005 graduate of the ECU College of Nursing and an eastern North Carolina native. She said she is proud to serve the community she calls home and the induction was a great honor.

Dr. Julie Kennedy Oehlert and Dr. Kamilah Williams were inducted into the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame.
Photo Courtesy of East Carolina University

“I’m so humbled and proud to be a Pirate nurse,” Dr. Williams said. “I’m proud to give back to my community here in eastern North Carolina, where I grew up as a young child. It’s an honor to serve and care for the population that I grew up with. I’m just grateful.”

Dr. Williams is tasked with developing nurses in her role at Vidant. Under her leadership, VMC achieved accreditation for the Nurse Residency Program and has developed an International Nurse Fellowship Program.

She said she loves what she does and is happy to give back to her profession and region through her role.

“When I think about the mission of our organization and being able to improve the health of the people here in eastern North Carolina, it’s exactly why I do what I do,” Dr. Williams said. “As a young child, I always knew I wanted to be a nurse and be able to give back to my community. Now in my role, to be able to help develop future nurses, it’s just a humbling experience.”

Dr. Julie Oehlert has used her experience as a nurse to improve the experience of patients, families and Vidant team members across eastern North Carolina. Dr. Oehlert came to Vidant and eastern North Carolina in 2016 and said the recognition made her feel at home.

“For me, I was so humbled and excited to be recognized with other Pirate Nurses,” Dr. Oehlert said. “I came from outside of Vidant but my heart is with Vidant and ECU. I feel welcomed into this community. I was so overwhelmed when I was nominated and accepted.”

Dr. Oehlert said she is proud to be part of a health system with so many Registered Nurses as leaders in different areas. With nurses in non-traditional roles lending their health care expertise and compassion for patients and families, the nursing heart can be seen in many facets of the health system.

“I don’t get to work directly with nursing but the nursing heart of all the leaders that have RNs behind their name, is pretty darn special at Vidant,” Dr. Oehlert said. “Many of our presidents and executives have that RN heart and that means we are always caring about our communities, we always have a holistic view on care and I love that.”

With the nine inductees for 2022, the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame that started in 2011 has grown to 150 members.

One of the past inductees on hand for the event was Dr. Daphne Brewington, senior vice president nurse executive at ECU Health Medical Center.

“It’s just been an amazing night and both Dr. Williams and Dr. Oehlert are so deserving of this award,” Dr. Brewington said. “I’m so proud that they have been inducted into the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame. I was inducted in 2018 so it’s just really special and surreal to be able to support colleagues that are on this journey as well.”

Inductees into the Hall of Fame also help fund a scholarship for ECU College of Nursing students, which has raised $170,000 throughout the years to support the next generation of nurses.

Learn more about the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame on ECU’s website.